Reading up the Matrimonial Columns under the Classifieds Section of daily newspapers has long been considered a fun activity, especially in South India. I recall that fad, when people used to joke about these matrimonial advertisements. “The Hindu” newspaper was famous for this widely followed section (and I am sure it is, even today).
I live in Mumbai and do not get “The Hindu” newspaper. The most widely read newspaper in this metro is of course, “The Times of India”, which I read every morning, spending barely 10 minutes on most mornings before I leave for office.
Today, being a Sunday, lent itself to some leisurely browsing of the newspaper, and for the first time I happened to see (!) the “Sunday Times Matrimonials” column, which even carried some article on Indian wedding rituals. It was funny reading that, and one could not miss the fact that rituals are widely different in different regions of this vast country.
Previously, the ads would always be based on castes – the insane division of people according to the castes they belong to, or sometimes on religions. Most people will be looking for brides or bridegrooms belonging to their own castes, which was only understandable in the context of the cultural mores of that time.
But a reading in the current time leads to a completely different interpretation of the market demand. Yes, the castes are there, no doubt. But more space was taken up some unique categories with headlines as follows:
* NRI/Green Card (shrinking category)
* Nepali (people from Nepal, which is an adjacent country)
* Bengali (people from the State of West Bengal, not on caste)
* Punjabi (people from the State of Punjab, not on caste)
* Hindu (in general)
* Muslim (in general)
* Christian (in general)
* Caste No Bar (a new one where the advertiser does not care about the caste)
* Cosmopolitan (the most intriguing classification)
* Others (free thinkers, I would guess)
and so on, and so forth.
India is changing, do you agree ?
Surely. People are thinking differently.
If as a people, we can accept our own people irrespective of where they came from, based on the value (not money for Gods’ sake) that each one brings to the table to ensure a lasting partnership, then we would have arrived in the Twenty-First Century.
In any case, it has been interesting spending some time grasping this change, which I seem to have missed till now. I do not know what is the situation of the ads in “The Hindu” in the Southern part of India, or in “Hindustan Times” newspaper in the Northern part of India, but I think we are seeing an increasingly modernistic trend, which can only bode good for India.
29th January 2012